All I’ve got is a photograph

Look, I know that in Red America all the NASCAR dads are blackmailing their mistresses, and that’s just something liberal elites like me can’t understand. That’s why Trump won, right? Nevertheless, the latest Show Me State shenanigans are a good example of why this is true:

Democrats should contest every political office in the land, especially at this particular moment. A great many Republicans are very likely one unlucky comment or media discovery from being run out of town on a rail.


As Alex Pareene wrote (in an article that is an increasingly vital guide to modern politics), these are simply the kind of people who do conservative politics now, from President Trump on down. The great Republican grift machine has taken over the party, and all but destroyed its ability to protect itself from nonsense, conspiratorial paranoia, or outright criminals.

As a result, some of the worst people in the entire country have percolated throughout the whole party apparatus, from state legislative staffers to the presidency, and it’s causing the GOP severe political problems — particularly with regard to sex criminals.

It’s great the DCCC is now targeting 101 GOP-held seats, but I say why not target all 218? 238? There’s a lot of perverts and criminals out there in upper echelons of the Republican party and plenty of them represent districts that would otherwise be non-competitive. Why not give to the Balloon Juice fund that is split equally among the eventual Democratic nominees in all House districts currently held by Republicans.

Goal Thermometer

Gunfondler BS Open Thread: Oh, Right, Trump Went to Military School

Do I hear a bid? Twenty percent? Forty percent? However bad you think he is, Trump can always manage to be that much worse. He’s throwing out what-if scenarios as though he was still stunting on The Apprentice, seeing which ‘ideas’ trip the applause meters.

Then I remembered: Trump’s parents sent him to a ‘military academy’ instead of a regular high school, because he needed ‘the discipline.’ (And the supervision must’ve been pretty good, since there’s no reports that Young Donald succeeded in ‘accidentally’ shooting anybody, including himself.) Since he has no interest in learning anything beyond his own personal experience, arming the school staff seems perfectly reasonable…

Yes, I’m Planning Prevenge

What kind of a fucked up piece of shit has an affair and pre-plans blackmail of his mistress to keep her quiet? In Missouri, they call him “Governor”:

Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted Thursday afternoon by a St. Louis grand jury on a felony charge of invasion of privacy.

The charge stems from a 2015 affair and allegations that he threatened to release a nude photograph of the woman, taken while she was blindfolded and her hands were bound, if she ever spoke publicly about the affair.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner launched a criminal investigation of the allegations last month shortly after they become public. The indictment accuses Greitens of not only knowingly photographing the woman with whom he had an affair, but also transmitting the image “in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer.”

Thursday Night Open Thread

I’m being judged harshly for not sharing my hunk of cheese and apple:

Although I am pretty sure they don’t care about the apple. Steve is punishing me and has been MIA since I got home. Lock him in a bathroom for six hours yesterday, then leave him with a stranger overnight. I wonder how long he is going to make me worry before he saunters in out of the blue?

CPAC Open Thread: Social Notes from the Clown Parade


Why I love Twitter, for days like this…

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New Indictments Against Manafort And Gates

Here’s the red meat for you to chew on.

A summary – not sure if this is going to be readable, but worth a try.

And Gates fired his lawyer. Again.

So it looks like whatever plea deal was made with Gates is falling apart. Meanwhile, the judge rejected Manafort’s latest offer of bail.

And open thread!

Listen To The Women – Anita Hill Edition

Jill Abramson goes back to reporting and gives us a long-form look at Clarence Thomas’s other accusers. She refers to Moira Smith’s story, very similar to Anita Hill’s, which was published in Fall 2016, just before James Comey made his news.

Abramson wrote a book in the mid-nineties about “ three other women who had experiences with Thomas at the EEOC that were similar to Hill’s, and four people who knew about his keen interest in porn but were never heard from publicly.”

A good case can be made that Thomas lied to the Senate during his confirmation hearing. Some Democrats, during the 2016 campaign, wanted to bring up the issue of his possible impeachment.

Before we consider impeachment, though, we have to consider how Thomas might be replaced. So it’s not for now.

Buzzfeed outed another abuser today. Lawrence Krauss is a professor of physics at Arizona State University and a well-known (among those folks, anyway) proponent of scientific atheism. He’s also been whispered about by women for a long time. Melody Hensley’s story is featured in the article, but others are mentioned.

Krauss is a cosmologist, and he is heading up a multidisciplinary effort on “the origins of the universe, life, and social systems.” I am a chemist who has had to deal with far too many know-it-all physicists, but my observation of physicists in positions like this is that they try to devolve everything to physics, while claiming a broad view. It’s tiresome.

He has denied any wrong-doing with women, but there are quite a few incidents listed in this article. I find them persuasive, along with the whispers.

Why Them? Why Now?

Dalia Lithwick has an interesting piece on why the Stoneman Douglas kids are keeping gun control front and center. She has four reasons, including this one:

4. They Expect to Win
The adults forgot to tell the kids at Stoneman Douglas that they can’t win against the NRA. As Alec MacGillis suggested last week, decades of demoralized fatalism have allowed progressives to persuade themselves that the NRA and Republican interests are too powerful to overcome, causing liberals to give up the fight before it begins. But no one shared this received wisdom with Emma Gonzalez. “If you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead, so it’s time to start doing something,” she said last weekend. That may sound naïve to an older generation of progressives, but it’s also the only possible starting point for changing the terms of the debate. I, for one, am grateful to be reminded of its essential truth.

It’s a really good piece worth reading in full, though I’m interested in hearing what all of you think. See you on March 24.

(via LGM)

That Was Refreshing

Had the ultrasound this morning and it was so uneventful I almost fell asleep on the table during the procedure. On the drive home, I saw something pretty remarkable- a fair number of Conor Lamb signs along Rt. 844, equal in number to the Saccone signs. I don’t recall seeing signs for a Democrat along this way in ages- there were never any for Obama or Hillary, and the place was littered with Trump crap the last election. Here’s his district, which is about 4-5 miles from Balloon Juice HQ as the crow flies:

Here’s where I saw the signs:

That stretch of Rt. 844 (we call it Washington Pike) from the state line is nothing but farm country (well, a fair bit of fracking now) broken up by two small towns, Independence Township ( the surounding area has a populatiuon of about 2k and 98% white), which well give you a route to shoot NE to Avella where you can pick up 50 and get to Hickory and Bridgeville (this is the area where several of the orchards I visit are as well as some really good farmers markets when they are in season), and West Middletown, which has a population of 144 and is also 98% white.

Just thought it was interesting and positive. Even if he loses, the fact we have a viable candidate there is cool, and it was just nice seeing a sign for a Democrat.

Cry Havoc And Let Slip The Loesch Of War!

NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch spoke this morning at CPAC. She was the warm up for NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. I’m not sure I know exactly how to describe her remarks, so you’ll just have to watch for herself. I’ve spent a 1/2 hour looking for a transcript to no avail for those who would rather not watch. Sorry. To be honest, this has to be seen to be believed.

Update at 12:50 PM EST

Here’s the video of NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s speech at CPAC.

David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo succinctly and accurately sums up LaPierre’s speech:

Watching the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre hold forth at CPAC–carried live on the news nets–is a good reminder that while it carefully crafts an image as a membership association of gun owners, the NRA is really a house organ of the Republican Party. What I’m saying isn’t new. The reporting documenting the NRA’s shift under LaPierre has been out there for years. But listen to his rhetoric. This isn’t about guns or gun rights.The Second Amendment argument, as anathema as it is to many people, is window dressing. It’s about using “guns” as a political cudgel, using “guns” to catalyze the resentments and grievances of conservatives, using “guns” as a bulwark against political threats to the Republican Party. Plain and simple.

Open thread!

“Progressive Independent” Open Thread: Death Wish

… AWAY & SHUT UP, if I get my wish.

If we Democrats do as well as projected in 2018, St. Bernie will be scrabbling for figurehead position on the bandwagon. If we, Goddess forbid, don’t, he’s all set to work the “Buy my book, and make a token $27 contribution to my exploratory committee” circuit, right across the aisle from Newt Gingrich. Except, as ever, the man’s timing is impeccable…

Bernie Sanders on Wednesday blamed Hillary Clinton for not doing more to stop the Russian attack on the last presidential election. Then his 2016 campaign manager, in an interview with POLITICO, said he’s seen no evidence to support special counsel Robert Mueller’s assertion in an indictment last week that the Russian operation had backed Sanders’ campaign.

The remarks showed Sanders, running for a third term and currently considered a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, deeply defensive in response to questions posed to him about what was laid out in the indictment. He attempted to thread a response that blasts Donald Trump for refusing to acknowledge that Russians helped his campaign — but then holds himself harmless for a nearly identical denial.

In doing so, Sanders and his former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, presented a series of self-serving statements that were not accurate, and that track with efforts by Trump and his supporters to undermine the credibility of the Mueller probe.

“The real question to be asked is what was the Clinton campaign [doing about Russian interference]? They had more information about this than we did,” Sanders said in the interview with Vermont Public Radio.
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Five stories on high drug prices

I’ll read through the Center for American Progress Medicare Extra proposal tonight but I actually have things I need to do today.  Instead, I want to highlight a brief by Ari Friedman and Janet Weiner, both at Penn when it was written, that tells five different stories on high drug prices.  I come back to this brief as an anchor to clarify my thinking and reactions to news stories.

Story 1: High cost-high value.  This is the Hep-C cure story.  The drug costs an arm and a leg but it really provides a lot of value despite being a cash flow problem.  The payer side response is warehouse as many eligible patients until “me-too” drugs emerge and competition drives down the post-rebate prices.  There may be cash flow policy problems for Medicare and Medicaid but not a formulary problem per se that requires a policy response.

Story 2: High cost -low value.  A new drug may be released that clinically does very little better than other therapies on the market.  Here the payer side response is lots of utilization management, tiered formularies and pre-authorization.  If it is a drug that is effective for a small population it will be used but off-label uses will be strongly controlled.

Story 3: Cheap generics get expensive fast — the Martin Shkreli story and the Epi-Pen story.  Here the exploit is a lack  generic manufacturers that can quickly shift to produce near substitutes.  The time and cost of other manufacturers to set up a production line to make a cheap competitor won’t ever return a profit as the original manufacturer/distributor will drop prices to or below marginal cost as soon as they see a threat.

The recent agreement by a number of large hospitals to set up a non-profit generic manufacturer is a response to this story.  The new entity would be willing to lose money to set up a production line for a generic drug that just saw its charged price increase by 1,000%.  I think the entity’s leadership would be totally happy to certify the capability to get a few simple drugs and one complex generic approved as a demonstration of capability and then just use their capability as a looming threat to tamp down on these pump and dump schemes.  That would be a stunning success even if the entity never ships a single pill for anything other than demonstration purposes.

Story 4: Short term price spikes for some generic drugs during shortages — this is a distinct story from number 3.  There may be other manufacturers that are in the process of responding to a price signal to enter or expand production for a drug but it will take a while.  The new entity could serve as a policy response here as a source of production reserves.  Larger stockpiles and diversifying supply chains so that most of a particular drug is not made on a single hurricane prone island is another possible response.

Story 5:  Lag between patent expiration and generic introduction — Here some brand manufacturers will pay generic manufacturers to not introduce a generic version as soon as possible.  The solution is lots of billable hours for lots of lawyers or Congressional action.

I am paraphrasing a great brief so that I can grok it.

What do you think about these stories that they are telling?

The Kids are Amazing and the Parents Are Amazing

Here are a couple of clips from last night’s CNN Town Hall in Florida.

This man buried his daughter after she was shot in the back in school a week ago, and he takes it to Marco Rubio. How can he even speak, not to mention speak so eloquently?

I thought this wrap up interview where Don Lemon interviewed Douglas student Alfonso Calderon is just one example of the poise and sophistication that all of the students have shown on TV.

I wasn’t able to watch the whole thing last night, and I’ve just been watching clips this morning, so please call out more of this in the comments. I’ll be in DC on March 24, hope to see you there.

Thursday Morning Open Thread: The CPAC Clown Parade Is Back in DC


… and this year, they have a drum major!

Remember when we could laugh at these creeps, grifters, bloviators, and post-college hopefuls trolling on Craigslists’ M4M?


I want a better acronym than “Clowns Pandering to Aging Christofascists”. Any suggestions?

One extremely promising-for-parodists panel has already been cancelled…

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On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

This weekday feature is for Juicers who are are on the road, traveling, or just want to share a little bit of their world via stories and pictures. So many of us rise each morning, eager for something beautiful, inspiring, amazing, subtle, of note, and our community delivers – a view into their world, whether they’re far away or close to home – pictures with a story, with context, with meaning, sometimes just beauty. By concentrating travel updates and tips here, it’s easier for all of us to keep up or find them later.

So please, speak up and share some of your adventures and travel news here, and submit your pictures using our speedy, secure form. You can submit up to 7 pictures at a time, with an overall description and one for each picture.

You can, of course, send an email with pictures if the form gives you trouble, or if you are trying to submit something special, like a zipped archive or a movie. If your pictures are already hosted online, then please email the links with your descriptions.

For each picture, it’s best to provide your commenter screenname, description, where it was taken, and date. It’s tough to keep everyone’s email address and screenname straight, so don’t assume that I remember it “from last time”. More and more, the first photo before the fold will be from a commenter, so making it easy to locate the screenname when I’ve found a compelling photo is crucial.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

Today, the grand finale from Le Comte!

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